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09 Jun 2022

Hope is not a plan: Implementation Science turning potential into reality

All those great healthcare ideas that never quite made it into practice never had an implementation scientist by their side.

In the complex world of health care, even a highly promising new treatment or potentially transformational protocol can be stymied by a range of systemic issues, capability limitations and other challenges that slow or stop them reaching their full potential in practice. Implementation science brings proven theories, models and frameworks to the table to scaffold and support new ideas and help make them a reality.

The official launch of the new VCCC Alliance/Peter Mac Implementation Science program was held at the VCCC building on Monday 30 May. Associate Professor Stephanie Best, Senior Research Lead, set out how this new service will help bring all the pieces and all the players together, and develop a structured pathway to implementation.

“Implementation science is a team sport,” she said, “It works best when we are brought in early so we can help choose the right tools, identify relevant outcomes and the parties work collaboratively to achieve success.”

For issues such as slow uptake of a clinically effective intervention; continued use of an ineffective or wasteful intervention, or failure to keep up with gradually emerging clinical evidence, implementation science can be a game-changer. It can save time, reduce wasted research and streamline care with benefits across a range of indicators including equity, patient experience and patient outcomes.

“Implementation science is simply smart, pragmatic science. Every scientist and health care professional wants the best for their patients and to see good ideas fly,” said A/Prof Best. “We can help set the course to give them the best chance of success.”

Working with Professor Karin Thursky, Director of Health Services Research at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and team, A/Prof Best will partner with VCCC Alliance Research and Education Leads to identify high potential projects to demonstrate the process in action.

Read more about Associate Professor Best’s joint appointment at VCCC Alliance and Peter Mac.

To enquire about the VCCC Alliance Implementation Science program, contact Dr Simonne Neil, Senior Manager, Research Implementation, VCCC Alliance at simonne.neil@unimelb.edu.au.

Featured image (L-R): Dr Mark Buzza, Associate Professor Stephanie Best, Professor Karin Thursky, Professor Jill Francis

What is implementation science?

Implementation science is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of proven clinical treatments, practices, organisational, and management interventions into routine practice and hence improve health.

Also includes de-implementation of interventions demonstrated to be of low or no clinical benefit and the study of influences on patient, healthcare professional, and organizational behaviour in either healthcare or population settings.

Find out more.

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